a special edition of the SEMI
a call for art The Christian story is one of exiles, wanderers, strangers, travelers, and itinerants. Ever in motion, ever in process, ever pointed forward (but sometimes turned back), we live in a state of flux constituted by a search for God, for peace, for beauty. Through these motions we find dry land under sea, water from rock, bread from sand—strange, nourishing furnishings as strength for the journey. From Abraham to Paul and Eden to Patmos, God has met humans in every sort of place. In the midst of movement, we are surprised to find that every place might be made sacred, and that the places of wandering bring growth. These are the immobile dots on the map that represent a point where heaven might meet earth. Where have you known God to meet humanity? What furnishes those places? Where do we go to meet with God? When God is with us, where are we? Show us where. Tell us how.
“How, after all, can we begin to describe the full significance of what we are doing, when we plant a tree in a devastated landscape, dig a well in a desert, give hope and love to an abandoned child, or campaign for an end to war? Only poetry, art and music can begin to do justice to such things; the flat one-dimensional language or ordinary post-Enlightenment analysis into economic or political forces will remain earthbound. Like our biblical forebears, we need to rediscover the many dimensions available to us for describing what look like this-world events and investing them with their heavenly significance. We need to rediscover, of our own age, how to write today’s equivalent of truly apocalyptic language: language that will speak of earth and resonate with the music of heaven.” -NT Wright, The Millenium Myth 2
FROM THE A LETTER EDITOR
4 6 8 9 10 14 18 20 27 28
POETRY Kyle Oesch PAINTING Brian Fee APHY PHOTOGR l ee N ah Rebek APHY PHOTOGR lf ca et M Monica APHY PHOTOGR s ck ri Jordan Hen
30 32 35 36 38 40 41 42 44 46
PROSE Alex Hughes
POETRY ki Rachel Paproc
E SCULPTUR ai Eric T
APHY PHOTOGR s ck ri en H an rd Jo
PROSE Reed Metcalf
PAINTING Peter Brooks
E SCULPTUR ai T c ri E
POETRY o Jerome Blanc
PAINTING berton Dr. Mark Lab
PAINTING e, Wonjoo Chung ak Rebecca Testr COLLAGE Peter Brooks APHY PHOTOGR s, Rachel Paprocki ck ri en Jordan H
APHY PHOTOGR n ke in T ew Matth TORS
a l etter from the editor You may have noticed already: this is not a typical SEMI.
will be stepping down as production editor. I am sad to see him go; he is a great friend and a dedicated worker. In a funny turn of events, though, Rachel will be stepping into the role vacated by Jonathan. She had already volunteered to help with the layout and artistic vision of this project, and now she is officially on staff. She is a great writer and artist; I am excited for what she will bring to our team.
There was a time when the Fuller Arts Collective (FAC) and the staff of the SEMI would work together to create an annual art journal. It was called Offerings, and it featured various art forms by members of the Fuller community. This issue of the SEMI, done in conjunction with the FAC, is a resurrection of the Offerings project. It is different in a myriad of ways from the previous manifestations, but hopefully this is a permenant return to an annual arts journal.
But now, we present to you Offerings. Within these pages are paintings, drawings, stories, photographs, and poems from various parts and pilgrims on the Christian journey. Every artist here has tried to caputre some sense of the Divine in their own medium, make sense of the Godhead through creative expression. At the end of the day, the artist is reminded of how much the Christian way is just that: a way, a journey, a path to be tread and discovered and traversed. Along the way, we are startled to discover God where we never expected to see him. We are shocked that the whole length of the journey is holy ground.
That said, this was a massive project compared to most issues of the SEMI. Our team doubled in size to make it happen. Rachel Paprocki (MAT ‘14), president of the FAC, hatched the idea of bringing the journal back to life way back at the start of the school year. She has poured a great deal of time and energy into realizing the project. Jerome Blanco (MDiv, ‘16), jumped in with both feet after being on campus for only a few days to help us gain momentum and find artists to feature. As always, the artistic talents of Jonathan Stoner (MAT ‘16), the SEMI’s production editor, were heavily utilized to help make this issue look spectacular.
Remove the sandals from your feet, friends, and join us on the pilgrimage, the exile, the journey, the way. Reed Metcalf, Editor
That does bring me to some rather sad news. Jonathan has accepted a fantastic job opportunity at Fellowship Monrovia and
except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance. TS Eliot
Crown. Brian Fee. 2011. Acrylic on paper.
we left a world two thousand miles behind and crossed wide Arizona on the 10 to reach some undisclosed horizon line
and who can say if this was by design? we heard a voice say go and so we went to reach some undisclosed horizon line still, in our hearts there sits a little shrineâ€” above the door, it reads, what might have been we left a world two thousand miles behind what greater sorrow, though, if we resign ourselves to saying no and not amenâ€” amen to undisclosed horizon lines how often do our hopes and fears entwine! two roads of one same journey in the end we left a world two thousand miles behind to reach some undisclosed horizon line
A VILLANELLE by Kyle Oesch
a better country
the forests and the rivers I called mine have faded into scrub and barbed wire fence we left a world two thousand miles behind
What was the inspiration behind the poem?
moment, an idea, than about trying to tell a story. Another thing is that it highlights loss; there’s a sense in which forward motion is never fully reached in the form, because you keep coming back to these lines. Because of the tension of going to a new place and leaving a place you’ve been, the idea of loss and what you’re leaving behind seemed prevalent, as well as the tension of being between worlds of what’s come before and what lies ahead. That too resists narrative, resists forward motion in that moment. You just are, finding yourself in the moment and on the journey.
The basic inspiration for it was our drive from Missouri to Pasadena—when my wife and I moved out here last August. Thinking about the prompt [for this issue], where God meets with you on a journey and how this is pretty common in scripture, I found it an easy leap to connect this to our journey here. Feeling the uncertainty of what lies on the other side of the journey, whether or not you even heard rightly about going in the first place—I think that leaves you with a vulnerability that’s open to God speaking into you and into your situation.
My hope, though, in using the form, was not just to leave it with that. In the end there is a turn to the future instead of being stuck in the tension, which is a way of hopefully transcending that inherent theme of loss that is part of the structure of the villanelle.
You mentioned that this poem is of a particular form known as villanelle. What is it exactly? A villanelle is a poem of nineteen lines, with five stanzas of three lines each, except a final stanza of four lines. The first line of the first stanza is the last line of the second and fourth stanzas, and the third line of the first stanza is the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. The first line is also the second-tothe-last line of the poem, and the third line is the last line. The poem also follows an A-B-A rhyme scheme.
What prompted you to start writing in form? Do you think you will continue to do so? Most people write in free verse, so for one, it was just an exercise for me, which is something I’ve been wanting to work on. There’s also something about a form—poems I read from the past or from the present that are clearly in a form—that gives me the impression of a more shared experience. There’s something about it being written in this manner that has been prescribed that gives it a universal feel. As opposed to a free verse poem, where there is more of an individual voice, in which an individual has made all the choices.
Why did you choose to deal with this content in this form? How does this particular form help or highlight the message of the poem? The villanelle has characteristics that went with what I wanted to say. Because it has recurring lines in its structure, it resists narrative—it’s more about expressing a
Bring. Brian Fee. 2014. Acrylic on paper.
Untitled. Rebekah Neel. 2011. Digital photograph.
Untitled. Rebekah Neel. 2011. Digital photograph.
PHOTOGRAPHS by Monica Metcalf
What was the project?
Why this project?
The idea was to take a self-portrait every day for a year. It turned into taking one nearly every day for my first year in graduate school. The rules were to include some part of myself: a shadow, reflection, a body part, or a simple â€œselfie.â€? I had to be the one to actually take the picture, though, so I got really good with timers and remotes.
It started out as a simple way to improve my photography, and it forced me to both learn the ins and outs of my tools and think outside of the box of just a simple selfie. It eventually morphed into the highlight of my day; I suffered depression in grad school, and this was one of the only outlets to keep me happy.
What did you discover along the way or in retrospect about your craft?
What did you discover along the way or in retrospect about yourself?
The bottom line is that there is an almost unlimited amount of ways to look at or photograph an object, person, or event, and I was learning to explore that. In retrospect, I discovered how much the photographs reflected my own emotional or spiritual state; there is so much of the artist that goes into the art itself. As someone who used to journal every day, I was surprised at how similar this was. Each photo became a little time capsule that showed my state of mind on that particular day.
I realized that depression and loneliness is a real thing. I also realized that art—a long term project like this—could be incredibly therapeutic for such a person. It’s just taking a photo, right? Just pushing a button. But you think about composition, lighting, mood, and as you walk through the process of creating something you find some sort of healing. Part of what kept me going everyday was the project and knowing that it was relying on me to be completed. 13
The poet put his pen down. He closed his even observe the winter wind before now; notepad with finality and stood from his it loomed large in the western sky, bringing chair stiffly. A pained expression came across black clouds and white land, yet through his face as he uncurled to his full height. that accursed window all appeared gray. But Turning away from the window that what is better, I wonder, for the eye of the overlooked the world, he left his stale, dimly poet: to behold the world in extremes and lit room and closed painful clarity, or to the door behind peer upon shadows at him. Upon tired legs every corner? For the he descended the one is epic and terrible staircase and left the and beautiful, while building’s front door, the other deep and A STORY by Alex Hughes at which point the cryptic and enticing. full moon and the stars and Should the blade of grass the streetlights illuminated his waxy, pale bend beneath the breeze in submissiveness, skin, and threw shadows onto his eyes and or should it swerve and slice and fight to beneath his gaunt chin. rise above the rest? “It just isn’t there,” he said distractedly to “But what am I talking about? It matters no one in particular. The street, as a matter not how the grass moves—or does it? I of fact, held no one at that late hour to suppose it really only matters how I perceive hear him. In both directions the sidewalk the movement. No, do not be stupid. No dwindled to nonexistence beneath the one cares about grass. What good would regular dotting of streetlights, bleak in its writing about grass do? Focus. Just focus regularity and stark in its coldness, yet the and it will come.” poet only remarked upon the coolness of The poet walked a little further down the the breeze as it pricked his skin. It seemed sidewalk, peering intently at everything to jolt and waken his mind from a dark around him: the row of three-story houses stupor, in which he had been languishing to his right, connected and forming one for an unknown length of time. looming wall; the small, dingy park to his “You know,” said the poet, “I did not left where the grass fought for life and light
in the snow craters; a certain star before him—it seemed to stare back at him, unblinking; the sidewalk, older and no doubt wiser than he, which he trampled beneath his feet. “But I need inspiration!” he said after a few moments. “It is the food for creativity, but my table is barren and my stomach is hungry. I reach and I reach, hoping to come up with something tasty, but each time my hand comes back grasping only air—and no one can eat air. If only I could reach out to love—every poet’s muse—and tap into her wellspring! The life used to rage like a river and my pen flowed wherever it willed, but no longer. “How can I look to love, I say, when love’s illusion, love’s ultimate trick, has been made clear to me? ‘Come hither,’ she says, a glimmer in her eye. ‘Come, spare not a thought, run headlong into my blinding embrace where all your cares, all your worries, all your insecurities, all your fears— all will be burned away in my glow. Step into my radiance and watch the shadows fade. Your past shall fade into irrelevance and your future shall vanish, for they pale in comparison to the glorious present where I reign. Forget, my weary soldier, forget. Forget and be glad of your forgetfulness.’
“But I have seen beyond the golden aura, and now that I have looked upon the truth, I cannot unsee it. The skin of your face is porcelain smooth, perfect and pure. You have the face of an angel, my dear, but you harbor a devilish, ugly secret: your wrinkles. They stand out, wicked, beneath your armor of light. There is a price to be paid for perfection, and it is death elsewhere. Away from your face I see someone of the verge of death, I do, and it scares me more than any ghost or monster. For how can I allow myself to float away in the rapture of your gaze when I know that someday, someday very soon, you shall be no more? Love is no longer love when it is tempered by rationality. Love requires everything, my mind and my heart and my soul, but now my mind sees how, always too soon, my beloved should cease to be, so I therefore refuse to lose myself in you. For how can I lose myself in you, when you shall lose yourself? What will be left when that fateful day comes to pass but misery and madness? “No, love is not enough any more. It is not enough for me. Love, I say, is incomplete. She is imperfect because she is mortal and will one day die. And how can I draw inspiration from such a being that no longer dazzles, but stands tarnished
on the street corner with torn clothes and disheveled hair? How can I sing of beauty and virtue and contentment when, like all things, they too will one day crumble to dust? Love is nothing but folly, it seems, as though the lovers approach the precipice, eye the deadly fall, eye Icarus ascending and beckoning, and then jump—for an instant they rise and touch the sky, but in no time at all they begin to fall. “But the trees! The great oaks and forlorn willows and stately redwoods. And the mountains and fields and rivers—and the sea! What of them, the poet’s reservoir? They will not fade as love does, so why not take up my pen and turn to them, those ageless, yet somehow youthful and ancient beings? They are a feast to the eyes. Light-footed and ethereal, the nymph of the world dances to and fro beneath the gentle sunlight, dances in the infectious moonlight, dances every hour of every day with a pure spirit. She hides playfully behind the trees sometimes—only one eye, green and luminous, can be seen peeking around the trunk—and I run, searching, enchanted by the mystery and wonder, the marvelous beauty. “Ah! If only it were so! To see the world in shades of enormity and minutiae, to
look upon the newborn as it breathes its first clear breath, or upon the staunch and craggy elder that buffets the wind with herculean strength—those are delights, I say. But the truth steps before the world and speaks in my ear: ‘Look again, childish traveler,’ she says. ‘Look, even, at your words and see the truth. Seas crash. Clouds loom. ains drench and chill. Fields grow and die, grow and die, grow and die. The mountain is barren and the rocks, for no reason at all, crumble and fall. Do you not see how over time all things fall? The rain, snow, sleet, and ice all fall. The trees fall and groan the whole way down. The boulders slip and loosen and fall. The rivers wear away against the land and, in no time at all, the land falls into oblivion.’ How can nature inspire me when, instead of a beautiful, formidable force that can withstand the stupidity of humans, all I see is a caged, desperate being, her eyes wide from terror; all around her is destruction, senseless destruction, and soon nothing will be left. She will fall one day soon and become a memory; where is the inspiration in that, I ask? “But what of he who will never fall? He whom mother nature calls Father. His voice booms through the clouds like a ray of 16
Notebook pages. Maria Fee. 20113-2014. Mixed media.
golden sunlight and scatters all remaining doubts; it bedazzles and delights, it purifies and petrifies, it shakes the land and brings us to our knees. ‘Look upon me,’ he says in a distant voice that somehow echoes in my head, both awful and beautiful; it is alien and human; it rattles my bones and brings tears to my eyes; it whispers yet is louder than any sound, is deeper than the voice of a stone, yet smooth and clear. ‘Look upon me and you shall find your inspiration, my wandering son. Turn your eyes away from the corrupted and the dying and look upon the living—for here am I.’ Is the beauty not singular, the power not perfect, as he sits atop Olympus, as he strides through Elysium with steps longer than galaxies? The light of the sun shines from the palm of his hand as he gazes upon it with fascination; the great blue marble he holds between his thumb and forefinger and smiles proudly. ‘Am I not enough?’ he asks, finding my speck among all the other specks. “Except it is not enough. For instead of his voice, all I hear is silence. The dead silence of the world. How is it I am supposed to sing of his beauties when he hides his face from me? Is it just from me that he withholds his voice, or is it from everyone? People always claim to have heard it, plain as day, but I wonder
if that is their hope playing tricks on them; thoughts and feelings can masquerade as voices, to be sure. But if it is true that no one has heard or seen the splendor, then how am I to be inspired by his passivity, his coldness, his silence? And if he truly has spoken to others, then why has he turned away from me? That is all I desire, just one word—not so I can believe, but so I can feel transported to some place for even one moment that is heavenly. If I could just once taste the incomprehensible and marvelous, then my inspiration would flow unendingly; I would glimpse he for whom I write and it would all be worthwhile. But as it stands, I make assumptions and guesses to an empty theater, and only my voice echoes back to me. “And perhaps my only consolation is deprived of me, I think. When all these things have been stripped away to leave me without a guiding light, I cannot even find inspiration in my confusion! For if I were to reach within myself and grab hold of my angst, if I were to pour myself out in a tumultuous rush, if I were to cling to the one last truth left to me, I would surely be scorned. People would mock. They would scoff and turn away, calling me nothing but a cliché. “I would be just another tortured poet.” 17
Obsession. Eric Tai. 2012. Burnt muslin.
SHORT FICTION by Reed Metcalf
The weak, sickly light of an overcast dawn began to pry its fingers through the hanging blinds, dimly lighting Rick and Chelsea’s bedroom. Rick was sitting up in bed, numbly listening to Chelsea breathe. He gave up trying to fall asleep around three or so. He was vaguely cold, his body sensing the first herald of the coming winter. The knotted pain in his stomach was unmistakable; he remembered it from his college days. A hard lesson to learn his first semester at college: all-nighters without food resulted in almost crippling hunger pains. He had revisited the up-all-night-with-no-food-stomach many times, and some times were easier, some times just as tough. Right now, he hardly registered it. He rubbed his face with his hand, and there seemed to be no sensation in either his hand or his face. Sleep was needed, but Rick had no desire to sleep. No desire to get up. No desire to face his list of chores before his leave at work was over. No desire to say good morning to Chelsea or Adam, yet a longing to have them around. No desire to face the empty crib. The phone rang. Rick jumped, looking at the phone, then the clock. 5:19. Caller ID showed a number Rick did not recognize. He numbly grabbed the phone, pushed “TALK”, and put it to his face. “Hello?” “Mr. Forster?” “Yes?” “This is Dr. Moreno at St. Joseph’s Hospital.” Rick sat silently, trying to process why the hospital would call this early. “There… there seems to have been a mix up on our end of things, Mr. Forster. I wanted to let you know that Abel and another child… got confused with each other. Abel is fine, and we’d like you to come pick him up as soon as possible.” Rick’s face was soaked with tears of joy. “Chelsea! Chelsea, wake up! It’s Abel, it’s Abel!” Rick started awake, a wide-eyed Chelsea holding his shoulders and looking terrified. He looked at the clock. 2:23. Chelsea spoke softly. “Are you ok?” Rick looked into his wife’s eyes, somewhere between sad and scared. Try as he might, he could not hold back his sobs, and Chelsea rested her head on his chest as Rick cried himself to sleep. The breakfast table was only animated by four-year-old Adam. Rick zombied about the kitchen, Chelsea trying to get Adam to eat his breakfast. Rick put a bowl in front of Chelsea, and then his own spot. He poured cereal into each, then milk. He set spoons next to each bowl, and sat down with a pot of coffee but no mugs. The digital readout on the microwave was the only way Rick had any notion of when he was. 7:02. 20
Chelsea forced herself to take labored bites between pleadings with little Adam to eat his food. “But I want to see baby Abel, Mommy!” “No, Adam, eat your food.” “Want to see baby!” “You can’t if you don’t eat your food.” Rick watched his Frosted Mini-Wheats swell, the milk level going down. “What is today?” “Babies-R-Us.” Chelsea said. “Right. After some minutes, the phone rang. Rick left behind his cereal, answering the phone and hoping for the dream of last night to become reality in the morning light. “Hello?” “Rick, it’s Nate.” “Hey.” “Hey. I’m calling to check in on you guys.” “Thanks.” A pause. “Is there anything I can do for you today?” “No.” “What are you guys up to?” “I have some returns to make today.” “Oh.” Another pause. “Why don’t you let me do that? Let you and Chelsea stay home.” “No, don’t worry about it.” Silence. “Please?” “I said no, Nate.” “Ok, ok. If you need anything, let me know.” Rick hung up. He tossed the phone on the table, sending it clattering through the morning’s quiet. You can’t give me what I need, asshole. Chelsea gawked at him as he sat back down. “Hey, what was that about?” “What? It’s just a phone.” “Don’t you think you could have at least said ‘bye’ to your brother?” Rick just looked at his cereal, not noticing Chelsea put her hand on his. His Mini-Wheats were slowly disintegrating, creating more of a swamp than breakfast. He took his hand from Chelsea’s, carrying his bowl to the sink, pouring its contents into the running garbage disposal. He put his clean spoon away. “Do we need anything from the store?” “I don’t think so. You going for a drive?” “Yeah.” “Mk. When will you be back?” “When do you want me back?” “Before eleven?” “Right. See you soon.” Rick grabbed a sweater and got in his pickup. He started driving and found himself on the 22 bound for Huntington, and his truck was soon engulfed in the low-lying fog of the shoreline. He parked at Sunset Beach near the Jack-in-the-Box, walking out to the water line in his tennis 21
shoes. The tide was low, and he plopped himself in the sand on the almost deserted beach. The surf was amazingly calm with hardly a shore break, and not a single soul was in the water as far as he could see. A few pedestrians walked along the sand a few hundred yards away, ghosts in the heavy sea mist. The seagulls and terns cried long and legato today, and their perennial songs fell unwelcomed on Rick’s cold ears. Rick watched the water roll in and out, out and in, and felt alone and unconnected. For how long had the waves broken upon this beach? How many trillions more would come and extinguish their power on this sand? Within a few short hours, the tide would come in, after he had returned home, and his own markings upon the sand would be washed away as easily as they were made. Out and in came the water, in and out in the cold air. The chill announced itself in his hands, and as he rubbed them together for warmth, he felt the salty dampness, and realized his whole body was covered with it. He tasted the salt on his lips, and his senses recalled the delivery room. The tears running into his mouth, the cold body in his bare arms. He buried his wet face in his wet hands. “Oh, Abel, Abel…. My son, my son….” His moanings turned into sobs, his sobs into cries. He joined the chorus of seabirds, of gull and tern, sandpiper and tiderunner, a lament in the grayness of the fog. He cried until his throat pulsed with ache. He stopped to catch his breath, the birds carrying on without him. As he breathed, another voice began. It started as a sort of sigh, a wheeze. It took a big breath, and the keen of a Highland bagpipe cut through the mist like a broadsword. Rick turned and saw the man, younger than he, in a sweater and jeans in the November morning, a football field away. Gun earmuffs covered his ears, and the ocean almost lapped his feet as his melancholy tune pierced the air. Together, the pipes and the birds wailed the dirge of dirges, and spoke the words Rick’s tongue could not pronounce. The only glimpse of Abel’s open, living eyes came to his mind, and Rick cried, and keened, and screamed. Part of him had been ripped away, and he mourned like a man with no future before him, and no legacy behind him. Just off the 55, he picked up a carton of cigarettes and a lighter from the AM/PM on Katella. He tossed them behind the seat of his truck before heading home. 11:05. He walked in the front door with an apology ready, and was relieved when it was not necessary. Chelsea walked up to him, and he noticed the wristband from the hospital still on her arm. “Hey.” “Hey.” “How was your drive?” “Good.” “Good.” She kissed him on the cheek. “You want some coffee?” “No, thanks.” As he walked towards the family room, Adam bolted towards him, toy dinosaur in hand. “Daddy, Daddy, want to play dinos?” Rick lifted his son and carried him into the next room. “This one is uh Allosaurus, and Uncle Nate brought him to me.” 22
Within a few short hours, the tide would come in, after he had returned home, and his own markings upon the sand would be washed away as easily as they were made.
“Uncle Nate came by?” Rick looked at his wife. She gently sat down at the kitchen table that spilled into the family room. “I asked him to take care of that stuff.” Rick set Adam on the floor. “I said I was going to do that.” “I wanted it gone, and I didn’t want you to have to be the one to do that.” Rick shrugged and turned away. “Are you ok?” Chelsea sincerely asked. “I’m fine.” “You don’t sound fine.” “I’m fine, goddammit,” Rick said over his shoulder, walking away. “Hey, don’t talk to me like that.” Rick reeled around angrily. “I said I was gonna take care of it. Could you not wait a couple of hours?” “I didn’t think it would be healthy for either of us to make that trip, Rick, so I called Nate.” “Even though you heard me tell him I didn’t want his help?” Chelsea had tears in her eyes. “This isn’t Nate’s fault, Rick—” “Did I say it was?” “You’re acting like it is, and he just wants to support us!” “We don’t need anybody around feeling sorry for us!” “They aren’t ‘feeling sorry for us,’ they just want to help us through this—” “And I just want my son back!” Chelsea sat stunned in her chair, her face red. She closed her eyes and cried, cried hard and desperately. Little Adam stood at the far end of the room, looking confused and terrified. Rick surveyed the scene, and he recoiled at the sight of his sobbing wife. He thought he still loved her, but at this moment the thought of touching her, of even speaking to her, flipped his stomach. He stepped backwards, turned away and left the house. There was an odd relief, a sad relief in his gait as he walked away from his truck. He traversed the park to a lone picnic bench that sat at the crest of the hill. A few children played at the far end of the grass, their laughs and giggles dull and monotonous in Rick’s ears. As he sat on the bench, he looked across the Southern California Basin towards the coast. The clouds had never yielded to the sun, and all was an ugly gray in the mist of the ocean, all was a repugnant sight from the hills to sea. Little cars and trucks scuttled across the Basin below him, and he scoffed as they tried to make their way through the vast and unending fog around them. He thought of himself, even smaller than that, and his own scurrying and scuttling, and for what? For a hole in his chest, a shadow in his mind, a pain that his soul could never conquer. And so, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes. As he opened the package, he glanced at his watch. 1:02. He put a cigarette between his lips and lit it. A long puff followed, and fire, pepper, acid made him cough. So this is what it feels like. He took another puff, and his lungs were already unable to 23
He mourned for them, at the thought of them mourning him, and something in him screamed defiance.
open as deep as before. A wheeze escaped with the smoke, and, before he had even lit the second cigarette, Rick was in a category five asthma attack. He tried to laugh, but couldn’t; his lungs were too tight, his breathing so laborious. As his body fought for air, Rick realized that he would never laugh again. Then the finality hit. Finality. He panicked. He had pushed himself past the event horizon, and now he would soon discover what the singularity in the black hole of Death truly was. A terror climbed through the cigarette smoke and sank its claws in him. Perhaps he would see Abel, but perhaps not. He would not be at Adam’s graduation, nor Adam’s wedding. Chelsea would be celebrating her 40th without him, and their tenth anniversary would be a table for one. He mourned for them, at the thought of them mourning him, and something in him screamed defiance. He threw the pack of cigarettes away. It was too late, though. What was done was done. He tried to get to his feet, but his body was dead weight. He fell to his knees, his breath a weak scratch. His vision was smearing, whether through tears or his body’s gradual shutting down, and his thoughts slowed. Soon his mind only played a faint memory from eons ago, a blissful Chelsea rocking a slumbering three week old Adam in her arms. A faint sound reached Rick’s ears as he tried to say their names, and then all was black. Rick awoke. His chest still struggled as if crushed, but he breathed, in and out. Out and in. Slowly, slowly his body drew in air, painfully releasing it again. With great effort, he opened his eyes. A hospital room. Rick’s mind leapt through the grogginess. Was it all just a dream? A prolonged nightmare? But no, he was the one in the bed, not Chelsea; his was the arm with an IV, he wore the oxygen mask, his name was on the bracelet. So it had happened. Abel, the fight with Chelsea, the note on the seat of the truck. The horrible curtain of black. Rick sighed relief. He looked around him at the unadorned and ordinary room. A young man sat in a chair near the door. He held his face in his hands, but Rick recognized the sleeping form instantly. “Nate.” Rick’s younger brother raised his head. A haggard weariness added years to his face, but it could not block out a natural resilience. He smiled from under his exhaustion. “Hey, ugly. How you feel?” “Alright.” “Yeah?” “Yeah.” Nate stood and walked to his brother’s bed. His eyes were well past bloodshot and rapidly approaching scarlet. “You gave us quite the scare.” Rick shook his head. “Gave myself one too.” Nate nodded. “I’m going to let Chelsea know you’re awake.” As his brother left, Rick stared at the ceiling, listening to the white noise of the various machines around him. He wondered what time it was; it felt as if it had been days since the park, weeks since the beach, and decades since the last hospital visit. His heart ached again at the thought and despair welled up, bringing with it the images he had run from. When the 24
pain spread to his lungs, Rick forced himself to breathe again. A doctor came in, seeing Rick was awake, and began making notes, checking machines, asking simple questions. The click of boot heels and purpose distracted Rick, though, and he found himself watching his wife approach the room instead of attending the doctor’s questions. She stood at the doorway and waited. Rick answered the doctor whom, when satisfied, left with an awkward urgency. Rick fixed his eyes on Chelsea, and the days and hours past overwhelmed him. He saw tears in her eyes, and felt his own grow full. He held out his hand. She uncrossed her arms and walked briskly to him. “Baby, I am so glad to see you,” Rick said, closing his eyes. He did not see Chelsea haul an open palm far behind her head. The slap resounded throughout the wing. “YOU ASSHOLE!” she screamed at him, “YOU JERK!” Nurses from the corridor started scrambling towards the commotion as Rick’s eyes tried to focus on Chelsea’s furious visage. His mask was askew, and his heart rate beeped faster and faster in the machines. “What about Adam?” Chelsea bellowed. “What about me?” Rick was mute with shock, and his mouth gaped like a fish. Chelsea pulled back again, a fist this time, and brought it hard across his face, connecting fiercely with his nose. “Adam needs a father! I need a husband, goddamn you! Goddamn you!” She lost her balance and fell across his chest. She pushed herself up, but a burly and bearded nurse grabbed her arms before she could attack again. Words started falling out of Rick’s mouth. “I’m sorry—” “Did you think about me?” Chelsea roared, mascara and tears and snot running down her face, her body struggling against the grasp of the nurse. “Did you think about Adam, Rick? We still have a son!” “I know, I—” “We have to keep going for him! For each other!” Her feet lost traction, and only the nurse kept her from falling to the floor “I… I—” “Do you think this is easy for me?” she asked, sniveling. “Do you think that I don’t half hope to not wake up in the morning?” Rick felt a shame past words as Chelsea hung her head and sobbed. “I loved him too, Ricky, and I hurt just as much as you do. Please don’t leave me alone.” “Oh God, Chelsea, I am so sorry…” His wife simply cried. The nurse gently and easily lifted Chelsea, and she put her own feet under her again. The nurse grabbed a tissue for her, and then deftly wiped Rick’s bleeding nose and replaced his oxygen mask. The nurse left the room without a word or eye contact, and Chelsea, holding the tissue over all but her eyes, walked back to Rick’s bed and climbed on top of him. As she curled up in his arms, she whispered to him. “Please, I need you.” Rick felt inadequate to hold her. “Forgive me, Chelsea.” “I do. But I hope I broke your nose.” Rick laughed weakly as his face slowly dried. “I think you might have.” She raised her head and locked eyes with him. “Good. I hope it sets 25
funny, so that every time you look in the mirror you see it. Every time you remember that I am still here, that Adam is still here. You need to go on for us, because we can’t do this alone.” He nodded solemnly. “Okay.” She put her head back down on his chest. “I love you.” “I love you too.” “Don’t you dare forget it.” At 12:13 the next day, Rick walked out the front door of the hospital. He walked with great deliberateness, his left foot in front of his right, his right in front of his left, breathing in, breathing out. Chelsea held his hand, and Nate carried an asleep Adam in his wake. As soon as he took his first step out of the hospital, the drops were falling. Before they reached the car, the rain had turned from a drizzle into a downpour. By the time they got in the sedan, Nate driving with Rick and Chelsea on either side of Adam in the back seat, Rick was as wet as fresh from the shower. He gingerly wiped his hair from his face, catching a glimpse of himself in the sideview mirror. His nose was distorted from swelling and tweaked from the break, and he instinctively looked to his son, and then his wife. She chuckled despite her exhaustion. “You look absolutely terrible.” Rick turned up one corner of his mouth. “I know.” He reached across Adam’s car seat and took his wife’s hand. He still wore his hospital bracelet, and she, hers. His insides panged at the sight of Abel’s name on hers, and he knew they always would. He looked at his own bracelet, then his wife’s tired face, saw his son shiver in the car seat. Rick remembered to breathe in, and breathe out, and breathe in, and breathe out.
Untitled. Eric Tai. 2012. Spray enamel on suitcases.
Untitled. Mark Labberton. 2006. Acrylic on canvas. 3 ft. x 5 ft.
Icy Feeling Jordan Henricks. 2009. Digital photograph.
reshing floor, uzzling the th [n ce fa ’s er n ig an with a fore A young wom ign breast, re fo cked to tu s ee n k n ig fore t breathing, with her silen buying time t minute] ur at the righ rm u m to y read anyone: well as a ory as well as f its water, as o ed am h can tell the st as e and a bed laid bar as well as a se f the lamb, with manna. r the blood o fo y st ir th ai, sprinkled n st Si th ea doorpo en b ering ultitude quiv as well as a m Your hands] s [its times in st re h at b b Sa ts absent, Enjoying its d, tion, occupan la o es d ot understan in d Lan age we did n gu n la a the Promised in g son ing Miriam’s created, finds itself sigh eople not yet p a h it e left], w s, th dep he right or th [t d an H down in the h ic wh in circles over en which going around the sea, and th after all? to in er d ri d Was it Yours an . e in rs ch o h ’s e ah th d threw . exile under Ju ch sharp nails the covers of ed ck tu d an fingers and su H ft so ch su Mine? It had the annals Bathsheba’s? rite it down in w to ed er b remem I should have only ch as this, if coax me on for a time su e to sleep and m ck ro to emory just for the m f my man s kday dream o ee w e g than vision m so d towar ore comfortin [m s ay d y on snow killing lions ead of men]. of worms inst candle sight, all: r light by oily u yo h it aiting room w w w t e h th ig n m o y g m n t ti Ligh e out the wri right to mak to me, you, just enough b n—a message si ar p , el k te ur mother. Mene, mene, sure to tell yo e b So of warning, . ow n we k om the ones fr y jo f o ts and everyone u e sho distinguish th No one could l the while. n to drink al ow d g in tt si g the Kin
puff POETRY Paprocki by Rachel
e its joy, one can shar o n d an s, es rn her the s its own bitte one] at whet y ow b n e k n rt [o ea s h es r Ou hazard a gu some feet e all can do is so the best w p Esther’s win u g in ld o h y f porphyr r own. pavements o nce under ou ra ea p ap se ri a rep might make n’t care, ows and does n k th le o h o Q g, when the as not knowin e m , sa e th is een our teeth [which s home betw it es ak m el road of grav ouths that nes in our m of Your house when the sto the ramparts es lv se em th should call s]. ctims of foxe become the vi e unseen footprints ar r u o Y gh u o Th f our crime, elancholy at the scene o u yo as w it ruments to m st in r u I know o g in tun our bows and Unstringing it. su ould follow so our faces w le Israel? ke Your peop li is o h w , u o ose of us I say unto Y ur women, th o Y f o Verily, verily at th e lik ngs You grief What city bri r heads igher than ou h sy e ar s n si se eeping us bu who the ground, k to s ce fa r e u o er h [pushing r the place w dry sea bed fo at th uried]. g in b in l exam e all wil e b w d an ie d l il dIw she will die an cedar, of u a house of yo d il u eap imitation b ch to a s u as w ed ] k ce as vi You never gainst Your ad me up with [a ca e w t it into jars, at h w and nce You’d pu o a se e Eden. th ld to ho ens, let alone rd ga s n’ o Zion: unable yl es ith Bab er did Your ey to compete w ail [and neith et d unable even o n ed ar tial artisans sp ed to notice]— Your providen e, eren’t bother w e self-disciplin w t u b , eed for a little n y in that place ar n o ti lu o ipped our ev r right hand: except You sk u close at ou yo ng. p ee k to ose to counti nemonic ldn’t come cl u co for a clever m e w es re eg in so many d ight you? we lacked it ber us who sl em m re s rget ay w al e helped us fo av h Why do you g in d an st nd our under Visions beyo ere to find it: h w ity is and er sp ro and breakers; p at h w out; in waves g in ll ca p ee d Unto deep, in rpretations. but shatter and real inte s am re d e u does nothing tr ce in n fe g in er ng]: wall, this tott Tent of Meeti e th e k li This leaning e av dw ow, udge from bel nnot ripple an n ca ch it ea se h au it ec w r [b slaughte its crumbling rward toward de. We’d hug ri p r u staggering fo o f o t mouth, eigh hole by the w them in Your n o ip gr a t swallowed w e could ge ter, if only w rocks for shel hing at all. a grip on anyt 33
Questions go unanswered , along the lines of “how did she eat all she wanted and stil l have some left over?” Put your head to mine and we’ll come up with someth ing, But if you’re not willing, as surely as the Lord lives— oh, He will do it, the On e who can stretch any am ount of Nothing into Some thing. There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries not just of multiplying sta lks of grains, but of chang e, and of hallowed rain and gallows being slain. Must we have watched for a nation that could not sav e us, peeking past the wrong cur tain at the wrong time? Little did we know how bei ng pushed to our knees is better than being raised to our feet, or know how much better is open rebuke than hidden love. Justifying the ways of Go d to men is not as easy as it looks, but neither is it any simple r to explain their ways to You. I go about blackened [whet her by You, them, the sun , or otherwise) being fed an intravenous line of hope of being named a new daughter of Job and of more worth to Na omi than seven new sons. Give me a story and I wil l tell it; put a song on my lips and I will sing it. Find me the breath to scr eam against you, and the deed is done. You’ll just have to hold me close to Your ear: even at my loudest, I com e without meaning and dep art in darkness. Many more than thirty day s have passed since the Kin g, Days in the deep without Your wisdom, down in the sea without Your face. Calmness can lay many err ors to rest and love covers all wrongs: but if I don’t speak of you , and the rocks have been dashed to bits, then the sons of my sons of my sons will have nothi ng to remember. As long as I have life within me, there will be a puff of the pillar of cloud in these wo rn-out lungs.
Testing TIme. Jordan Henricks. 2007. Digital photograph.
Holy Trinity (After Rublev). Peter Brook. 2013. Acrylic on canvas.
I was working in ethno-arts— researching, documenting indigenous arts with the Wycliffe Bible Translators. We worked with particular artists and communities to help them express the Scriptures and the Gospel in their indigenous visual arts.
What kind of work were you doing in PNG?
My previous body of work was focused on the landscapes of the parts of PNG we lived and worked in, particularly with an aerial and abstract point of view. Coming here, I have had many different influences, thought processes…. I’ve certainly been thinking more theologically. This triptych is a product of that. My work in Pasadena is vastly different from my previous works. I feel that I am at a bit of a crossroads.
You’ve recently experienced a great shift in geographic location, moving from your native Australia to Papua New Guinea and now here to Pasadena. What are some ways in which this physical journey has impacted your painting?
I would look at what would be culturally understood in that
How do you determine which elements of art are theologically appropriate representations of your understanding of the Divine in a given location?
Definitely. My work in PNG was based a lot on river systems and indigenous art influences. Coming here, things are much more urban, and that is creeping into my art.
How do your physical surroundings influence your use of form? Do some locations inspire or demand the use of certain formal elements in your work?
Geographic location doesn’t have as much to do with it as much as being in a totally different culture at Fuller, what I am studying…. This piece really was influenced by studying Russian Orthodox icons, particularly Andrei Rublev’s Holy Trinity. That and a study of religious symbols were my conversation partners during the artistic process.
How has your geographic location influenced your aesthetic understanding of the Trinity?
Here are some basic elements. The circle represents the eternity of God—that is a fairly universal symbol for eternalness in many cultures. The circles also echo Rublev’s icon, where the members
For someone who has little to no experience with abstract art, how can we appreciate and better understand this piece?
A greater understanding of God and what he has done, can do, and will do. The act of painting for me is an act of worship, so the end question of how this piece will be an aide to worship and meditation on God and his action in the world stayed with me as I worked on this painting.
What are you looking for through your work?
context. For instance, if I took this triptych to a village in PNG, they would scratch their heads, and vice versa—what they produced would be puzzling to the Western contexts. So picking forms to represent the theological concepts or narratives is dictated by the culture of the physical location.
of the Trinity have halos encircling their heads. The blue throughout each piece represents the unity in the Trinity, the complete Godhead. The three main colors in each are again an echo of the colors Rublev uses on each person of the Trinity. Christ’s main color is red to depict the blood in the Atonement; the purple in there represents his kingship. Green is for the life that the Holy Spirit gives and sustains. In the piece of the Father there are many subtle nuances that are hard to capture via photograph, particularly with iridescent elements. It sort of shimmers in and out depending on what light it is in and where you are standing in the room. And that complexity was intentional; I mean, how do you paint God? So there is both a distinctness and an indistinctness, a quality that is just barely out of reach.
s e i r r e b straw m a e r c &
POETRY Blanco by J erome
Our God is a God of strawberries and cream in an English garden on a perfect summer eve— when he paints the sky an orange and blue mottled with clouds that reflect the gold of a low-lying sun. This isn’t much like Tehran, my friend Mohammad says now, telling us a story, over cake and coffee and fresh picked strawberries, of his escape from his home, where they would kill him dead. He tells us with a smile of how he fled, by foot, and by truck, and on an empty stomach, all the way here, where there were a few other fears, like sleeping on the street, without a thing to eat or keep him warm—but at least he was alive, and not locked in that cell, one by two meters wide. Now, Mohammad pours us coffee, with clotted cream, and he smiles, like the old days were only a dream a lifetime and a half away. And to me, this garden is the closest thing to what is real or what should be: Strawberries, sweet, picked fresh from the earth, under a perfect breeze, like the breath of God, as if all is well, and all manner of thing shall be well, because here, I see my friends and myself in a garden, sipping coffee and black tea, knowing this is what we mean when we talk about peace.
I Gather. Maria Fee. 2012. Mixed media.
The Call. Rebecca Testrake. 2011. Acrylic on canvas. 16in x 20in.
I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121). Wonjoo Chung. 2014. Acrylic on canvas. 54in x 28in.
Flowing Memories. Jordan Henricks. 2010. Digital photograph.
Untitled. Rachel Paprocki. 2011. Digital photograph.
Untitled. Matthew Tinken. 2013. Digital photograph.
surely the Lord was in this place, and I was not aware of it. Genesis 28:16
Jerome Blanco (MDiv., ‘16) POETRY, p. 38 Maria Fee (PhD, ‘16) MIXED MEDIA, p. 14-17, 41
Peter Brooks (MAICS ‘15) PAINTING, p. 36
Wonjoo Chung PAINTING, p. 40
Jordan Henricks (MDiv, ‘14) PHOTOGRAPHY, p.30, 35, 42
Matthew’s thesis project and full length album, "The Turtledove, the Swallow, and the Crane," should be released by July 1, available on vinyl and digital download. To hear the songs and purchase the record, visit http://theselfishgiant.bandcamp.com.
Maria Fee previously served as an arts ministry coordinator in the Center For Faith & Work (CFW), Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Maria was the visual coordinator for various Redeemer projects and facilitated collaborative programs such as the in-house literary magazine, creative showcase night, the writers vocation group, and an annual juried exhibition. Maria’s work as a painter reflects her own theological queries regarding being and becoming within a communal body. She holds a BFA and MFA in Painting from Queens College, CUNY and an MA in Theological Studies from New Brunswick Seminary. Maria is a native New Yorker and married to Brian Fee, also an artist. They have three grown children. Brian Fee PAINTING, p. 4, 8 Brian Fee is married to Fuller doctoral student Maria Fee. He received his MFA in 1987 from Queens College, CUNY.
Matthew Tinken (MAT, ‘14) PHOTOGRAPHY, p. 44
Family: Raewyn, Ryan (14), Samuel (12), Eric (10), extended family living in Melbourne Australia. Home: currently Pasadena; previously for 8 months Kangaroo Ground, Melbourne; prior to that Wewak Papua New Guinea (PNG). Arts: BFA, couple of solo exhibitions, and several group shows in Melbourne. Ministry: EthnoArts Worker with Wycliffe Bible Translators in PNG. Planning to return to PNG after graduating.
Jerome Blanco was born in the Philippines, but now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home. He has a BA from Wheaton College and is currently a first year MDiv student with an emphasis on Theology and the Arts.
Alex Hughes (MAT, PhD, ‘18) PROSE, p. 14-17
Jordan Henricks is a husband and father who enjoys reading, writing, and being outdoors. He and his wife, Brittany, spend their time learning about life from their daughter, Grace, and their two golden retrievers, Bri and Daisy. They also work to serve their church community, Rosemead Christian Church, and Jordan works as an administrator at Fuller. Together, Jordan and Brittany plan to spend their life working to serve military families, Jordan as a chaplain.
Wonjoo’s preferred media include print making, pastels, paints and drawing. In 2002, she and her husband moved to Fuller, where she studied in the School of Intercultural Studies. From there, God led their family to Jakarta, Indonesia, where she taught art at an international school. She currently works in Fuller’s Housing Office and continues to pursue art. Her vision is to communicate the gospel through murals in public spaces.
Alex Hughes’ academic interests center around existential crises people have, in particular confronting mortality and meaninglessness, so it is perhaps of little surprise that these also surface in his fiction writing.
Reed Metcalf (MDiv, ‘14) FICTION, p. #-#
Rebekah Neel PHOTOGRAPHY, p. 9
Monica Metcalf is a photography enthusiast from Orange, CA. When not traveling within the auto show industry, Monica enjoys a nice cup of tea, a good book, hike, surf session, or a crafty project. She sometimes enjoys Reed’s puns… sometimes.
Reed Metcalf is a writer from Orange, CA. He currently serves as the Editor of The SEMI and worship director for Park Avenue Christian Church in Montebello, CA. When not reading or writing, he is likely hiking, surfing, woodworking, or making terrible jokes to pester his wife Monica. Reed thinks that required courses in creative writing would alleviate the monotonous prose that plagues much of today’s academic discourse.
Rachel Paprocki (MAT, ‘14) POETRY, p. 32 PHOTOGRAPHY, 43
Rachel Paprocki survived being raised in Murrieta, CA by knitting and reading voraciously. She earns her keep by making clothes and coffee in the greater Los Angeles area, which she traverses by bicycle. She hopes to advocate through the arts for an honest embrace of embodiment in learning and worshipping communities.
Rebecca Testrake (MDiv, ‘15) PAINTING, p. 20
Eric Tai is that guy on campus who sometimes wears a campaign hat and draws dots in class. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, almost died, then truly died to himself by coming to Fuller. Fortunately for him, there is a degree emphasis in Theology and the Arts!
Eric Tai SCULPTURE, p. 18 -19, 27
Kyle Oesch is an MDiv student who has too many interests (poetry being one of them) and not enough time. Originally from St. Louis, MO, he and his lovely wife Natalie moved from there to Pasadena last fall--a move chronicled by the poem submitted here. With any luck and/ or copious amounts of financial aid, he will graduate in the summer of 2016.
Kyle Oesch (MDiv, ‘16) POETRY, p. 6
Rebekah Neel was born and raised in Southeast Asia and considers Chiang Mai, Thailand to be her home. Her greatest passions are printmaking, art history, Wes Anderson movies, and samosas. Without question her favorite city in the entire world is Florence, Italy and she hopes to return there again someday. She is married to filmmaker (and current Fuller student) A.C. Neel. Currently, Rebekah is training as a massage therapist because she loves making people happy.
Monica Metcalf PHOTOGRAPHY, p. 10-13
Dr. Mark Labberton (PhD, University of Cambridge) PAINTING, p. 28
Dr. Mark Labberton is the Lloyd John Ogilvie Chair for Preaching and President of Fuller Theological Seminary. He served as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley for sixteen years before rejoining the Fuller community as professor in 2009. A published author, he is also an avid painter and admirer of abstract art.
Rebecca Testrake is an MDiv student and Brehm Scholar. She credits her family, especially her grandmothers, for encouraging her exploration of the arts from a young age. She is captivated by the theology of aesthetics. In her free time she enjoys swing dancing, arting, laughing, teasing her cat, and fighting dragons.
Published on May 21, 2014
A special edition of the SEMI, Offerings is a collection of various arts by the Fuller community. Assembled into a single journey into, thro...